I could write a post about the disaster that is the mental health services in the UK or lack of education in institutions such as school. However, I want to take a different approach and instead of being negative being positive. So in this post I will be writing about things that help me personally but obviously I am not a medical professional; if you need help then I urge you to go and seek out services available.
This is a music blog so I am going to start with the obvious. Music. If “Music” were a person I would say that they have supported me all the way through my ups and downs. I would say that they have given me hope and great memories. Almost like something that holds my hand everyday.
Might sound a bit dramatic but in all fairness this is very true. Putting some headphones in is almost like taking a drug for me. Depending on the song it could calm me down or cheer me up or simply relax me. It’s incredible what emotions can be felt because of it.
Some songs I might use to pick me up, some could be motivational but others have associated memories with them. I will paste a link to a Spotify playlist at the end of the post of tracks that I am loving right now but also mixed with some oldies which mean a lot. It’s kind of my go-to playlist right now whilst I am studying.
Saying that music is my medicine is the best way of describing the impact it has on me. There is a mental health campaigner called Aiden Hatfield who has tied in his knowledge of mental health issues and love of music to create clothing brand: In Music We Trust. I am pretty sure I have written about him and his work before but I wanted to give it a mention again. 50% of his profits go to mental health charity, Mind.
I find playing drums is a great way to release any pent up aggression or negative energy. It is also a way to distract the mind away from any stresses. I wish I could drum more.
It is fair to say that personally I am very reserved and when I tell people I play drums they are 90% of the time surprised. Like…obviously surprised. I had this one guy in a tutorial the other day who was talking about getting a new e-kit for his room and when I said I play drums he looked so shocked. It is almost laughable.
Okay obviously not everyone has the amenities to drum (to be fair I don’t really) but maybe this can work with other instruments? Learning something new is always a great way to refocus the mind.
This sections has sort of two sides. Because on one hand, I have been known to struggle when going to gigs with being crammed in a space with loads of people; makes my heart pound.
However, I have definitely become more used to them and actually seriously enjoy them. Gigs are a fantastic way of discovering smaller, new artists that have the potential to be huge. I just love being around other music lovers and it really makes me motivated to start a band. When you can actually physically feel the music it is an awesome feeling.
Another thing I use gigs for are milestones. Get to this gig, get to that gig, enjoy yourself. Always having something to look forward to is important. Yesterday I bought three gig tickets taking my tally up to six that I am waiting for. These are:
13/10/18 – Oxjam Brum, Digbeth, Birmingham (Read my preview here.)
21/10/18 – Bloody Knees/Honey Lung/Free Galaxy, The Flapper, Birmingham
23/10/18 – The Blinders w/ Calva Louise + More, The Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
10/11/18 – The Tin Pigeons/Grafton Ash/Sean Duggan, Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
02/02/19 – Kaiser Chiefs + Special Guests, O2 Academy, Birmingham
26/03/19 – Panic! At The Disco + Special Guests, The Arena, Birmingham
A point I want to make is gigs don’t have to be expensive for them to be enjoyable. I think it is ridiculous what some acts charge for tickets, the most I have spent on a ticket is £60 (not in the list above) but three of the gigs in the list above cost less than a tenner which I think is decent for a couple of hours entertainment. Just go out, have a great night of music and fall into the rabbit hole that is gigging. It is good for you.
An author who I really admire and love his work, both fiction and non-fiction, is Matt Haig. I own a fair few of his novels as well as both of his non-fiction works: Reasons To Stay Alive and Notes On A Nervous Planet. Both have helped me a lot because it made me realise that I am not alone and these feelings I have are both valid and also not out of the ordinary. I recommend both to everyone. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to the man himself speak back in July and meeting him afterwards.
Another book which is not also humorous but also very important is Remember This When You’re Sad by Maggy Van Eijk. I was gifted this book by a very good friend of mine and it puts a lot of things into perspective. I am no book blogger so I am not going to try and review any of these books but check out Sam’s (Oh Book It!) reviews here:
I have had a few pets in my lifetime. A couple of hamsters, a few cats (I still have one) but when I got a dog the game changed. Sorry Rosie.
The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs want to show you affection all of the time mainly because they think you are going to feed them but still. Since having a dog if I have ever felt low or in the need of a cuddle I will sit and play with her. It always instantly makes me feel a little better and I have seriously missed her since being at university. Just looking at photos isn’t the same. Miss you Syd ❤
When I am feeling low I try to take some time out to reflect on some good times. Looking at photographs is always a great way of doing this and it is why I have so many up and around my room at university. Because to me they aren’t just pictures they are memories and I enjoy remembering the story behind the photo.
I could make a list of examples but I don’t want to bore you. My point is that the good times, great memories, are so important. It is personally what keeps me sane. And this section can tie into all the other sections of this post because for me some of my best memories have been at gigs, some of the best people I’ve met have been through music etc. It is all linked.
And there are so many people who have made me a better, more confident and happier person. But also, they’ve helped me combat some of my fears and they support me in difficult times. This isn’t just fans but also sometimes the artists themselves. I am mainly referencing the Kaiser Chiefs and their fans – many now my friends – here.
These have been a few bits and bobs which help me through difficult times. Please comment your thoughts, I really would like to see them x
What I am listening to right now: